Lance Armstrong admission may impact cancer fundraising

Published: .
Updated: .

How will Lance Armstrong's apology impact cancer research and fundraising?

Armstrong founded the LIVESTRONG organization after he was successfully treated for testicular cancer in 1996 at Indiana University Cancer Center, now known as the IU Simon Cancer Center.

The LIVESTRONG foundation has raised more than $500 million for cancer research, and Armstrong's former foundation has donated to Indiana cancer research facilities.

"I am a breast cancer survivor," said Traci Runge.

Diagnosed in March 2010,  the Carmel mother is cancer-free and two surgeries away from wrapping up this fight. She says it's a fight she couldn't have done without Lance Armstrong.

"It gave me confidence and support that I needed to go further," added Runge.

Just a year after her diagnosis, Runge ran her first triathlon.  

As an athlete, she says it's frustrating Lance Armstrong lied about using performance enhancing drugs. But, as a cancer survivor, she hopes all this "noise" doesn't hurt the LIVESTRONG campaign.

"It's a disappointment, but what he did shouldn't be connected to LIVESTRONG. It's an organization that helps all people," said Runge.

Lance Armstrong has deep ties to Indiana.  He credits Dr. Larry Einhorn at then-IU Cancer Center with saving his life. He donated $1.5 million for research.  

This past June the first LIVESTRONG-sponsored cycling event was held on Butler's campus.  $100,000 was raised, with 25-percent of the funds donated to the IU Simon Cancer Center.

The event's Director tells Eyewitness News despite Lance Armstrong's personal problems, attendance for the next summer's fundraiser is already out pacing last year.

"What LIVESTRONG has been able to do is greater than what Lance Armstrong has been able to do in his career. I think people are following suit and doing what they can to raise funds for IU Simon Cancer Center and LIVESTRONG so they have the resources they need," said Basil Lyberg, Executive Director, 24 Hours of Booty.

Lance Armstrong no longer serves on the LIVESTRONG Board of Directors. But, the organization does credit him for helping them raise $500 million over 15 years.

Lance Armstrong's interview with Oprah airs in two parts on Thursday and Friday night on her network, OWN.
Statement from Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center:

"Lance Armstrong was successfully treated for his testicular cancer at Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center in 1996 and credited his team of doctors for saving his life.  Since that time, he has raised both awareness and funding for cancer research and survivorship.  The foundation he started, the LIVESTRONG Foundation, helps cancer patients in the healthcare, legislative, and community settings.  The positive impact LiveStrong has on patients and their families is immeasurable.  That's a legacy that will continue."